SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE

The Edmonton Oilers farm system is developing players, but most of the top end Barons prospects currently are defensemen. With today’s injury to Tyler Pitlick, the club’s minor league system is perhaps primed for a ‘defenseman traded for a forward’ deal that addresses the club’s need for more skill forwards. Who should it be?

In last night’s Oklahoma City Barons game, the club lined up like this:

  1. L1: Anton Lander (prospect) between Linus Omark (former NHLer trying to get back) and Matt Ford (29-year old career AHLer).
  2. L2: Joel Broda (minor league prospect) between Andrew Miller (new college signing) and Derek Nesbitt (31-year old quality AHL veteran)
  3. L3: CJ Stretch (24-year old pro trying to get a foothold in AHL), Austin Fyten (22-year old new pro) and Justin Maylan (just signed ECHL player)
  4. L4: Travis Ewanyk (prospect in 1st pro season) between Kale Kessy (same as Ewanyk) and Erick Lizon (minor league enforcer).

The Oilers have several Barons on their roster due to injury (among them Pitlick, Ryan Jones, Ben Eager and Ryan Hamilton) and of course Curtis Hamilton remains on the injured list.

THE DEFENSE IS LOADED

(Phil Larsen. Larsen and Gernat photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

All the while, the blueline boasts impressive quality and depth. Phil Larsen and Taylor Fedun are callups at the ready, and Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin and Brandon Davidson (who was in fact recalled earlier this season) are all working toward their NHL dream (Jon Willis talked about Klefbom being close earlier today).

Beyond that, first year pro’s Martin Gernat and David Musil are developing in the AHL, and men like Dillon Simpson and Erik Gustafsson may turn pro this fall.

On the blue, it’s a helluva pipeline.

OMG, ANOTHER LOWETIDE TRADE!

Hold on for a second. The Oilers have too many defensemen, we’ve talked about that in the past and it remains true. We saw evidence the other night when Phil Larsen played forward, and at some point the Barons are going to need their players back–or a trade could happen.

Legit prospects do get traded for each other in the minor leagues–the Oilers have dealt Cody Wild, Danny Syvret and others in this manner–and I do think we might see that kind of trade in the near future.

Defenseman for forward. It just makes sense.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Probably nothing–I predict about 100 trades a year that don’t happen–but the Oilers organization is running on empty for depth at the forward positions.

Something’s gotta give.

  • Serious Gord

    I am sure there are a number of defensemen up with the Oilers that could soon be begging to get away from Eakins so your trade situation will be closer than one thinks

  • SLURVE

    So this is what we have been reduced to, LT? Musing about minor league trades, while the big team wallows in futility? Instead of dreaming of the Oil playing meaningful games in April, we now wistfully wonder what it might be like to play meaningful games in November. Ah, the plight of the Oiler fan. Sigh……

    Oh, and FIRE KEVIN LOWE!!!!!

  • SLURVE

    What on earth is Labarbera in net for given how terrible he played in his last 2 outings. Dubnyk has been playing much better and given his age and lack of work this fall, Devon could have handled back to back games. Dallas made a poor decision putting Labarbera in instead of Dubnyk. The Oilers would have had a better chance of winning today with Dubnyk. Sigh

  • Serious Gord

    The oil are now eight points back of a playoff spot and St. Louis has three games at hand.

    Playoffs are a near certain impossibility.

    Time to quit talking trade or any other changes to the roster and prepare for the trade deadline and the draft.

    Between now and then mr. Katz has some decisions to make…

  • What’s the possibility of trading for Troy Brouwer?

    P.S. just plain crappy about Pitlick. Great game from him tonight, right up to that hit that took him out of the game.

    I guess Lander is likely to be recalled, since he was HS’d in the Barons game.

    • OnlyOil

      It’s almost too much, isn ‘t it? Sometimes the discomfort is such that I want to laugh at myself for tolerating this fan’s life any longer. Every time I think I’m out, a nifty 4-way passing play ending with a simple Perron tap in keeps pulling me back in. And then-a blown lead, two stoppable point shots-and normal service is quickly and thoroughly restored. I think we should be awarded some kind of campaign medal for enduring this.

      And its going to snow tonight. What a bleak, dismal night.I’m going to bed.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The Dark Side welcomes you Harry.

      Feel free to order the Clubhouse sandwich, no questions asked from now on. Being a realist has its privileges. You’ll now receive Brownlees Re-lowered Expectations articles a full week before they hit the streets.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I live in the okanagan and once a year I buy 4 tickets and make the trek up hwy 16 to edm to take in a game.

        Dec 21st vs Stl is this years game.

        I am pissed and annoyed as all hell that the team is making my 4th trip in a row look like an inevitable disappointment.

        Oh well at least the fan buses from St Albert turn a blind eye to excessive drinking on board.

        On another topic. I think ill go as Randy Quaid superfan from major league for halloween this year.

    • Serious Gord

      I will not be surprised that Calgary will destroy us, again, this year. The only year since 2006 we finish ahead of them was last year, which caused us to miss out on Monahan.

      When I read that Burke signed with the Flames I shuddered with fear. Burke will school KLost, MacT and Howson 24/7, and he will ensure the Flames build a big tough team that will absolutely destroy us for the next 10 years. This organization is an absolute failure. How can we be this bad for this long. Teams in southern USA markets that don’t even try seem to build better teams then us. That’s the scary part – KLoser and MacT ARE TRYING! What does that tell us? It tells us that they don’t have a clue how to build a team. At the least the Oiler, injuries or not, should be playing .500 hockey. This team is dead last in the conference. This is not acceptable. This organization has threatened to move to another city despite the fans watching sh*t hockey year after year, and still selling out the building. KLost insulted the fanbase base, who pay some to the highest ticket prices in the league, plus he insulted our wonderful city and embarrassed the organization chasing Heatley. I can’t take this crap anymore. From now on, I am going to make a conscious effort to not watch this team, and I am not a fair weather fan, because no fanbase should have to put up with this crap. All we want is a competitive team. This managerial braintrust has taken advantage of our loyalty and patience – they owe us big time, but they don’t have skills to deliver, which by now is obvious.

  • Zarny

    A logjam of D prospects isn’t the worst thing in the world.

    Perhaps they move one for a F prospect. But I would think packaging Marincin or another prospect with a pick(s) to get a D 3-4 years further developed like Coburn or Myers would be priority.

    • Spydyr

      Both are overpaid for what they bring, and neither really address the need for a number 1 defenceman. I’d do your suggested deal based on its an upgrade, but we have no cap room for either.

  • G Money

    Personally, I’m just impressed that the Oilers can have *the best* 5×5 shooting % in the league at 10.5%, fully 7 points ahead of the league worst, and *the worst* 5×5 save % in the league at 88.7%, fully 8 points back of the league leader.

    It’s an amazing combination of incredible sharpshooters combined with the worst goaltending in the league, by far.

    That’s gotta be a first.

  • bazmagoo

    Oilers PK 2011 – 2012 : 14th in the league
    Oilers PK 2012 – 2013 : 9th in the league
    Oilers PK this season : 29th in the league

    Oilers PP 2011 – 2012 : 3rd in the league
    Oilers PP 2012 – 2013 : 8th in the league
    Oilers PP this season : 24th in the league

    In my opinion, this is the primary reason our record is so miserable. And it all falls on Eakins.

    Secondary reason is goaltending.

    Coaching is a valuable commodity in the NHL, and is why Calgary is ahead of us in the standings with an inferior roster.

        • Serious Gord

          Goaltending – as always the most important position. And the oil is arguably the weakest in the league at that position.

          Special teams – especially PK is reliant on coaching. We are the worst in the league at both. What does that tell you about our coaching?

          Injuries are both an issue and a symptom for the oil. Over the last seven years th oil has had one of the highest injury rates in the league. The cause is hard to pin down but I’m pretty sure that team size/physicality, training and coaching are the big three. And we are at the bottom rungs in the league at all three.

          All three of the above issues are not solved by one or two player moves or coaching changes. It will require massive, long term change to this roster and organization. But in light of the contract window with the star players, by the time the repairs are made and the team is ready to be truly competitive trading of the stars to stay with the cap limit will be about to happen. And back into the cellar the oil will go.

  • bazmagoo

    I’ve been reading this blog for years, and the same concerns have been mentioned repeatedly; suspect goaltending, lack of a top D-man, lack of center depth.
    Sound familiar Oiler management? WTF have you been doing for the past five years? Uf*cking believable!
    Also, how much money has KLoser cost Katz with all the coaching changes? Does Katz like buying out coaches every year who KLowe and MacT blame for the Oilers ineptitude? Must cost him millions. Katz must be getting sick of this? He must…right?

    • bazmagoo

      It just makes it easier for Katz to claim he is losing money and demand another public handout. Like the year they:
      -paid Quinn a million bucks to stay home
      -kept paying MacT to work for TSN
      -spent over a million to renovate the ballpark for their single A ball team
      -and paid Souray five million+ to play in the AHL….

      ..that year they claimed they lost 3 million while demanding the city build him an arena. The world class big thinkers rushed to Katz’ defence.

      Maybe Lowe should add a few more vice presidents and directors to the understaffed hockey ops department. Their executive is small when compared to General electric.

  • bazmagoo

    I consider myself as big of an OIL fan as anyone else but I too, am experiencing some letdown regarding my beloved Oilers. Over the years, I have tried desperately to stay of the negative path regarding Management.

    As disappointing as this is to admit, I am now a full pledged member of the “anti-management group” of the Oil fan base. Too many years of being a basement dweller will do that it seems.

    Regardless, GO OIL GO!

    • bazmagoo

      I totally agree with you. I had faith in the rebuild, and believed that AT LEAST the Oil could become a competitive team again. I didn’t care if we became a top team, I just wanted to support a respectable Oilers team that played tough and had a good shot at the playoffs every year. I believed management when they told us to be patient, and that suffering through years of sh*t hockey would result in a payoff. However, it’s been too long, and the constant losing is brutal. The management has failed this fanbase big time. They are going backwards, and obvious holes that they should have started to try to plug years ago, remain. What is their excuse? This team is a joke, and KLoser, MacT and Howson appear to not have a clue what to do. This is what happens when cronyism is the number one criteria for hiring managers. This organization is the laughing stock of the NHL, and I have no response to all the Flames and Canucks fans who roast us. Do Katz, Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish even care about this once proud franchise and city that was such a huge part of their careers? Un-f*cking-believable.

  • Serious Gord

    First off my apologies on wrongly (well it didnt happen as of writing…) reporting a Habs-Oilers trade on last post.
    I am a dedicated Oilers fan from Ontario. I am looking at the Oilers stats as of today; dead last in the west and 25th total…After 12 games in they have the worst GA, average GF as well as a reeking Calgary team 5 pts better. 12 games aint a trend that usually, after 20 games it does totally ignite a pattern for all fans to see.
    I will not mention injuries as with a team that boasts 6 `super stars` the team should be above .500… RNH is a -7, same for Justin while Hemsky is at -9…
    The coaching is suspicious from some specific stand points and Eakins doesnt call the players who stink & I must admit while Mac T`s only bold move so far was to make none.
    Looking forward, I see games vs L.A., Toronto, Detroit, Florida and Tampa. Can we agree on 4 points, perhaps?
    My take on things: unless some miracle occurs, the way things are going the Oilers are likely to be in the draft lottery again. No kidding.
    Katz wont mind as the 1000s of suckers will sell out Rexall every game and those sweaters will fly off the shelves anyway.
    The Oilers, with its present roster cannot rebuild. We better be patient, pray for a mid-season trade for a dependable goalie, either Klefbom or another Dman gaining legit top 4 statute and Arcobello is the real thing.

    • bazmagoo

      Agree, and as far the trade rumor we need at least a better back up goaltender and Budai would be good if available. I think our new head coach had better put his ego in check and get our special teams using last years systems, I for one have faith in Mac T and really do feel he is trying very hard to do something and don’t forget he was close on Clarkson(which would have been an overpay),was in on Bernier and Scheider and was really busy at the draft trying to get Coburn as well. I really like the draft picks from the last two years except for Yakapov, he was the BPA but a big center was what was needed.

  • Slapshot

    The biggest problem we have is Katz, he should of brought in an experienced president and general manager somebody like Jim Nill instead he kept Lowe on as president and now look at the mess we are in. After 7 years of missing the playoffs,5 head coaches,2 general managers, you would think that Katz would realize Lowe is incompetent, yet here we are again in last place and there is no end in sight.

  • bazmagoo

    Yesterday Willis suggested Marincin and a second for Reimer and I scoffed. After watching yesterday and seeing Reimer shut down Crybaby and the smelly birds, I think we’d be lucky to get him for that. Don’t see TO trading either tender right now, unless Nonis decides to sell high which he might. We are not a team that can afford to trade a first for such a guy, but we should be able to put a package together for Reimer. What about Lander and a 2nd. Frankly think Lander is tweener anyways.

  • Spydyr

    You build a team up the middle from goalie on out.Then defence then centre.

    The oilers have the worst goaltending in the NHL.They have one of the weakest defence corps.They are weak at centre.The number two centre is as big as a junior high kid.

    This is not a rebuild it is a fly by the seat of our pants and see what happens.

    Now they have a log jam of young defenders in the minors.

    This team is being built bass-acwards.

    Who is/was in charge of the re-build from 2006.Yes him.Who has failed.Yes him.If any other person in the “real” world did their job as bad as him they would have been gone a long time ago.Ego and all.

    If there is no accountability at the top how can their be any further down the organization.

  • Serious Gord

    In any case if this team – with both Nurse & Klefbom as 2nd pairing in two more years (while J Schultz & ? in 1st D pairing) as well as the kids on best top 6 in NHL will do average without a dependable goalie. We need a great goalie to close the loop IMHO. Then we will play post April regularly.

    • Spydyr

      Have you watched Justin Schultz play this year?He is not even a third defence pairing power play guy on a good team.

      Other then hype Klefbom has proven nothing.

      Nurse looked good in camp but unless they rush him and we know they will it is what they do.He should be at least 2-3 years away.

      • Serious Gord

        Schultz is not changed his game or developed at all since coming on board. The onus has to be put on the illustrious defense coach Mr. SMith.
        This guys has a hockey brain of a lizard.

  • Serious Gord

    In addition to my comment above:

    This is Taylor halls fourth year in the NHL. If the oil continues to fail and indeed finishes in the bottom quartile, how much longer before he asks to be traded?

    Were you TH would you be asking for one? I know I would.

    • Serious Gord

      You are bang on. The kids’ concerns about this team that is obviously rudder less will hurt their stats, their egos and who knows what else. If Seguin is on fire in Dallas or McKinnon in Colorado becomes super hot as those two teams would know success night in , night out you really have to be aware that Hall, Eberle, RNH, etc would contemplate playing elsewhere. I say that if this season stinks AGAIN, someone will jump ship…

  • Serious Gord

    Maybe not having a legitimate 1 thru 4 defenceman is a problem that should be addressed. Ference has done nothing since he got here but talk a good game, no wonder him and Eakins seem to have hit it off. J Schultz might as well play on the wing. Grebeshkov is the same horrible player he ever was, just slower. Smid decent defender, not great migt as well not play with a stick. N Schultz looked all right when he first came, true colors show now and it makes sense why he only cost Gilbert. Petry and Belov non descript players not good at anything in particular, just average. The AHL is full of guys like this. Potter, not worth writing about, possibly related to Tom Renney. Klefbom, see Belov, Petry. Will never live up to the non deserved hype hes received. Kinda creepy having a 60 something guy putting up all these young women all the time, just a thought.